Curriculum Design

Quote by Martin Robinson - Curriculum: Athena versus the machine

"In De Magistro (On the Teacher), St Augustine asked: 'who is so foolishly curious as to send his son to school to learn what the teacher thinks?' It is in the growing freedom from the teacher's thoughts that pupils come to realise their own tastes, develop their own thoughts and make their own judgements. There are no criteria because this is an adventure onto a new plain. a rational liberty through thought, and an aesthetic one through taste and discrimination, is developed via the thoughtful constraints of good curriculum design." 

Whole School Curriculum

Lower School Curriculum     

Upper School Curriculum     

Sixth Form Curriculum


Curriculum Statement - Intent, Implementation and Impact

Curriculum Intent


Art, Craft and Design

In the Art department at Guildford County School we are passionate about teaching Art, Craft and Design. We aim to encourage all students to be alert and inspired by the world we live in and to be able to communicate their observations, ideas and responses visually, exploring and developing skills in Art, Craft and Design.

In line with the NSEAD manifesto of 2014, we believe that:

Art, craft and design education provides and inspires personal expression, personal understanding, creative and practical responses, promoting imaginative risk taking to provide solutions to our material, emotional, social and virtual worlds.

Provide opportunity for students to investigate and evaluate a wide range of creative outcomes from the past and present to develop rigorous understanding of the many.

Provides students with regular opportunities to think imaginatively and creatively and develop confidence in other subjects and life skills.

In life ‘knowing how’ is just as important as ‘knowing that’. Art, craft and design introduces participants to a range of intellectual and practical skills. It enables learners to use and understand the properties of a wide range of tools, machines, materials and systems.

It provides an introduction to potential careers in the visual arts and creative, heritage, cultural and digital and design media industries, sectors that are contributing significantly to the UK’s economy and reputation on a competitive international world-class platform.

Art, craft and design enables participants to engage with and explore visual, tactile and other sensory experiences and how to recognise and communicate ideas and meanings.

Art, craft and design provides an opportunity for and engagement in leisure pursuits that can yield lifelong benefits in health, wellbeing and life satisfaction.

Above are taken from

Business Studies & Economics

We will teach students:

  • an understanding of core principles of Business and Economics and the context in which they operate, both nationally and globally
  • key analytical skills in Business and Economics

As a result, our students will:

  • learn to be creative in their analysis of and search for solutions to problems.
  • develop the ability to use data to measure progress, inform decisions and allocate rewards, but also understand the limits of data-driven approaches.
  • develop literacy and communication skills that will allow them to work in any environment (personal or business) with any stakeholder.
  • be able to identify risk in any proposal and analyse potential outcomes to avoid both ‘Stop’ and ‘Go’ errors.

We intend that this will:

  • empower our students to take control of their destiny
  • develop enterprising young people who are equipped to thrive in the ever-changing business environment, as curious, inquiring, ever-learning analytical minds
  • place our students inside any qualification barrier for their potential careers
  • ensure our students become useful and productive members of society that justify the government’s investment in their education

Computer Science

SUCCEED through failing, again and again

CREATE logical solutions to everyday problems

INSTILL a sense of awe and wonder in technology

ENGAGE everyone with relevant and practical lessons

NURTURE ability and grow confidence

CHALLENGE all to reach higher attainment

ESTABLISH a strong foundation in programming skills

Design Technology & Food Tech

  • We are going to develop our curriculum to make use of the abundance of natural resources from initially sustainable and then further into carbon positive design and production.
  • We shall further explore our Kaizen approach to material and tool use, increasing efficiency of time and resource management.
  • In our department we intend to develop lively, imaginative and inquiring minds.
  • Our aim is for students to learn and apply active problem solving to any given situation.
  • We shall develop the students understanding of the world in which we live through contextualised learning.
  • We aim to actively encourage students to follow their own ideas without a fear of failure.
  • Students will develop an awareness and understanding of how other cultures approach design, manufacturing, Food and Nutrition, recipes and use of ingredients.
  • We aim to deliver a variety of classroom/workshop based experimental sessions with experimentation as the aim rather than the final outcome.
  • With these skills we aim to educate and coach pupils in the art of self-reliance, resilience, confidence and the ability to contribute to society.


The English Department aims to provide a rich, varied, exciting and challenging experience of some of what the subject has to offer, recognising that success in English allows students full access to the world after school, no matter what their background:

Exploring a range of texts of different genres from a diverse group of the best writers.

Focusing relentlessly on core skills in reading comprehension, writing, and speaking/listening.

Championing literacy and the role that reading can play in making us better people.

Offering a broad co-curriculum of clubs, trips, activities and competitions that inspire our students and support classroom learning.

Providing challenging home learning opportunities that reinforce fundamental skills whilst also allowing students to pursue independent interests.

Achieving outstanding results in public examinations.


In Geography we aim to facilitate an understanding of the world that students live in at local, national and global scales, and to appreciate the interconnectivity and interdependence within it. We aim to raise awareness of how to be a responsible global citizen and encourage the development of a curiosity and passion for the geography of the world we live in.


We intend to create young people with critical minds who form their own ideas. Ideas based on recognising layers of opinion and motive using a knowledge of global history and analytical and evaluative skills.



The intent of the Languages department is that all language learners develop the skills and confidence to consider themselves as ‘World Citizens’ who belong in a multicultural, mutually respectful world.

We aim to support students to understand other countries and cultures so that they can be more open and adaptable to new experiences; ensuring that each topic contains an element of cultural reference to not only the target language country, but the wider Hispanic, Francophone or Germanic spheres. We encourage contributions from all pupils and aim to develop an awareness of the world beyond languages lessons, in particular with students in the 6th Form.

The department is committed to developing strong, lifelong linguistic skills and to encourage students to become curious and interested in the world. We encourage progress, not based on ability but on effort and a good work ethic from year 7. We use grammar as a corner stone in our teaching, through a variety of activities, to ensure a sound use of language.

Ultimately, we want our students to have a love of languages and an appreciation of other countries and cultures, and aim to achieve this by nurturing a linguistic curiosity and an intrinsic motivation to explore and respect other cultures and people. We endeavour to inspire all Language practitioners through collaboration, support and modelling exceptional practice- no matter what stage learning.


It is the Library's intention to inspire all minds to inquire. To use critical awareness and empathy so students take their place in society as informed, confident and responsible citizens.


GCS Maths Curriculum will (relative to other schools)

Enthuse via:

  1. teacher touting, positivity and energy for and of maths;
  2. "applications" and technology dependent on areas of maths;
  3. "history" of maths development. (how, why and who?) 4) sharing of exciting problems, their solutions and unsolved problems in maths.

Equip: via

  1. practical maths for life and
  2. transferable problem solving skills


Target Outcomes (again relative to other schools)

GCS Students will be more of all of these:

  1. Maths-positive
  2. Curious
  3. Capable/Confident
  4. Logical
  5. Resilient

Media Studies

At the heart of Media Studies is the desire to enable young people to broaden their knowledge, understanding and experiences of the globalised, multi-cultural world in which we live. The subject exposes them both to the magnificent opportunities of a media rich existence as well as preparing them for the dangers of ever-changing global technologies.


As a Music college we will raise standards of achievement and the quality of learning and teaching in music for all students. We will also encourage our students to develop a lifelong passion for, and appreciation of, music not only as performers and composers but also as audiences, technicians and critics. We will be inclusive in promoting enjoyment of many different musical forms and encouraging all students to participate in a wide variety of music making.

Our expectations and standards are always high. We share a common, united intention to create as many opportunities as possible for our students to access, demonstrate and celebrate their talents.

We believe that our specialism has helped us to embed a positive and holistic ethos for learning and teaching. We have sought to share and embrace creativity as a dynamic process and one which has formed the basis with which we have modelled our framework for learning across the school. Structure, modelling, scaffolding, teamwork, demonstration, performance, higher thinking skills, analysis, independent learning, self-discipline, evaluation, emotional security and celebration.

We have sought to engage students and engender a sense of self awareness in their learning and further enhance their transference of skills and enjoyment through a series of events involving whole year groups, whole school and collaborations with our feeder Primary schools.

High levels of participation have encouraged a strong sense of community, pride and team work. All students perform annually in our House Music Competition and many more habitually perform for their peers and wider audiences both inside and outside of school on local and national platforms. This gives all the confidence to perform in the widest sense of the word and ensures that both students and staff are respectful and understanding of others both as performers and as audiences.



Physical Education

The focus of our PE department mirrors our school ethos by providing an inclusive approach to delivering sport and Physical Education. We want our students to benefit from both the physical and mental benefits of physical activity in a safe and enjoyable environment. We believe it is important to use sport as a tool to raise self-esteem and build resilience in each individual, encouraging participation post 16 years old. If a student enjoys their experiences of Physical Education at secondary school, then we will be able to instil a deep love for sport and living a healthy active lifestyle.

Philosophy, Religion & Ethics

The Philosophy, Religion and Ethics department create a curriculum that aims to equip students with the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about the subject content. Students will evaluate different religious beliefs and practices, societal ethical dilemmas, and philosophical arguments. From this they will develop an awareness of the ultimate questions of life and how their own beliefs relate to them.

We aim to help students develop respect towards others’ lives that are different and distinct from their own as societies become pluralistic in their beliefs. Students will recognise the influence of beliefs, values and traditions on individuals, communities, societies and cultures.


  • At the very least, get students to engage with STEM and acknowledge that Science is not a standalone subject- it is a global human endeavour which underpins all aspects of technology, the natural world, engineering and the yet to be discovered. These are topics and issues that are ongoing and have an impact of the future of the human race
  • Inspire students to view STEM in a broader sense through creative means to show cross curricular links- encouraging them to have enquiring minds, become tech savvy, resilient contributors who are self-aware, independent thinkers who find Science exciting.
  • Ultimate goal is to have a curriculum that enables students to become scientific leaders who creatively challenge scientific thought, are innovators of future research and discoveries

To achieve this, we aim to make science explicit, help them reflect and give it context, again and again.


Every child is unique, many children and young people will have SEND of some kind at some time during their education. Some children and young people will need extra help for some or all of their time in education and training. Guildford County School Inclusion Policy promotes involvement of all our learners in all aspects of the curriculum. We have a whole school approach to inclusion which supports all learners engaging in activities together. Any barriers to learning or engagement are reviewed with discussions on what can be done to overcome these. We make reasonable adjustments to our practices in order to comply with the Equality Act (2010). Having identified needs, we seek to match provision to need. Our Director of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities monitors the impact of interventions through regular meetings and tracking of pupil progress and shares this information with Governors and the of the Leadership Team. Should additional support be needed, we use a number of in class support strategies and evidenced based interventions across the school, depending on need. Please view our Provision Maps for further information.

Our SENCO and class teachers, through regular progress reviews, seek to identify children making less than expected progress given their age and individual circumstances, or who are not engaging in their learning. Parents are invited to share any concerns with staff. We aim to identify reasons why a pupil may be struggling with their learning. With teacher and parental discussion (and pupil discussion where possible) additional intervention will be provided if it is felt that a child may have special educational needs.

At Guildford County School we recognise that the quality of teaching within the classroom is the greatest influence over children’s progress and we therefore invest in training to ensure our classrooms are an inclusive place to be. At Guildford County School, we provide a differentiated curriculum to meet the needs of all learners. Reasonable adjustments are made to accommodate all learning styles. Staff differentiate the pupils’ work and resources so as to support access to the curriculum. In addition, we liaise with external agencies such as speech therapists to deliver individual programmes of support in school, as recommended by the multi-professionals with whom we work.